Virus: Gut check on free stuff

Let’s look at the new economy, being shaped by World War III, against the coronavirus.

Pie in the sky

If 78% of Americans were living paycheck-to-paycheck before World War III started, where are they now, when so many are receiving no paycheck? 

If only 39% of Americans could withstand a $1,000 emergency then, how about now?

As someone who has saved his entire life, who was taught thrift by low-income, working-class parents who weathered the Depression, I find these empty-pocket stats hard to believe, yet I do believe them because, like Andrew Yang, I believe in data, even when it contradicts personal beliefs.

And I mention him because he had a promise of $1,000 a month for all, which seemed like bigger pie in the sky than Bernie Sanders, but Yang had numbers backing him and his ideas are parallel to the guaranteed minimum income, an idea circling on the left end of the political spectrum.

Maybe crazy once, but maybe crazy no more. The idea in brief: handing out cash helps the poor, who spend it, and that drives the economy. 

Not a new idea either, said Yang, whose campaign posted a video of Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. asking for one.

This is kind of a gut check. 

The World War III we are fighting has changed everything, maybe forever, maybe just for the lifetime of older adults, such as myself. We are living under semi-martial law, yet we are strangely docile and calm, almost like we are in a dream.

What kind of a country will my children and grandchildren live in?

Even though most Americans live from paycheck-to-paycheck, most families own homes and even more own cars and cell phones and big ass TVs and they go on vacations. Disney World does not thrive on the business of just the top 1%. 

I don’t know — maybe Americans are tapped out because they spend too damn much and too many buy too much on credit, with interest rates matching the Mafia’s. It is consumers that move our economy forward, so maybe they think they are being patriotic. Do they think they can live in retirement on a Social Security check?

The stock market will return to where it was, eventually, but it will be a long slog. Most of the 55% of Americans who are in the stock market are in through their 401k investments, which are crippled. 

Businesses that closed for a while, and people who lost paychecks, will be behind the financial 8 ball for a long time. 

As noted yesterday, we are a poorer country now.

The federal government has several programs to send money out, but will it be enough and how long will checks be sent? I suspect it will be trillions.

I believe people who ridiculed Bernie Sanders’ free stuff and Yang’s handouts might feel differently now that they are on the receiving end.

Will being on the government dole become the new American Way? 

19 thoughts on “Virus: Gut check on free stuff”

    I’m with you on this one, pallie. I believe that, for years, as you point out, everyone was/is playing “keeping up with the Joneses”. (How many of the youngsters will know that old phrase ?) Because of that desire to “appear” to have much, there was/is very little liquid money out there.
    I’m not sure if the Feds are doling out money one time or will it happen on regular intervals. Regardless, most Americans will view that windfall(HA!) in the same light as a income tax return check. You may remember that N.J.’s Governor Christie Whitman gave the masses a paycheck, as a parting gift. I think that that check was around a grand, but I could be wrong. I didn’t view that minuscule money as a “godsend”and I wont be doing any cartwheels when Uncle Sam doles out a few bucks, either. I will take the money and put that little check with my little savings and hope that together, they multiply.
    As for recovery. I don’t see any reason that the average American will go from rags to riches. It may take a year for Joe Average to be back where he was prior to WW III.

  2. Gut check: important. Dire analysis: yes. Accurate: unknown.
    Ridicule of Bernie and Yang and others warranted pre New World, because recirculated ‘give out’s’ grow government. Not what we needed then. Also, the druggies will spend it on the street. Now? I suppose we have little choice. I don’t know. It could be worse or could it? “What a revolting development” we’re in…..(TOGETHER).
    One happy note? What if we were under a “new normal, get use to it” Obama economy?

      1. Randy
        You are the greatest person I’ve never met, except for Stu, Tony, Vince and everyone else, so far.

        1. Tom,
          If you’re walking down the street and Randy is coming at cho, pretend ya don’t no ‘im

          1. Yo, guys, be nice… we’re in the middle of WW3. We’re gettin’ our butts whipped by an opponent you can’t even see. From China, with Love.

  3. Sunday Morning Mass-less Prayer
    Dear God,

    Seriously, I do not blame anyone, esp., my Maker. And a few prayers certainly won’t hurt, even if you’ve never prayed before.

  4. The biggest lesson I learned from my depression-era parents save for what you want. Their reasoning was very simple: by the time you have enough for what you want; it probably won’t be so important to have. That attitude lends itself to saving $$$. Keep praying everybody and help someone out if you can!

  5. I taught my four sons that no matter how huge a house they bought, they could live in one room at a time, so the rest was wasted spaces; no matter how many steaks they bought, they could only eat one at a time; no matter how many cars they owned, they could only drive one at a time. In other words, buy only what you need and set aside money for the bad times. I got that from my mom (my dad let her handle the finances), who ran a very tight ship while Dad was away during WWII, sitting in a German POW camp. I’m a proud conservative who liberally believes no child in this country should go hungry or without medical care. Which is why those endless wars in Shitholistan and other 5th century money pits of despair in the Middle East anger me so greatly.

      1. Stu,
        What’s with the cheap shot ? You know of nothing about either man.
        Mr. Benedict could have been a grunt in the wrong place at the wrong time. If he was USAAF, the odds were against you surviving your tour of duty.
        Mr. McCain was a new flyer in the V/n war. with little to know experience, flying an A-4 was not a good place to be.
        you know my credentials, I think

        1. Have no idea about cheap shot, unless you took my shot at Trump the wrong way. HE said he didn’t like people who got captured. Because he is a bone spurred asshole.

        2. Dad was captured at the Battle of the Bulge in December 1944. He would not talk about anything related to the war until his 80s. The only time I heard him reference the war was when Hogan’s Heroes was aired. He got really angry and muttered that there was nothing funny about being a POW.

          1. Vince,
            I salute Mr. Benedict for his service and devotion to our country. In a sense, your dad was one of the lucky ones. The many got blown up from here to hell. The others froze their asses off.
            I know a few guys that were their. Same deal, not much talking. One was with Patton. (That was another topic) One that was captured we knew as “Fritz”.He was a tall skinny first generation German-American. Fritzmuller opened up a little bit. Mostly, as you say, they don’t talk about their exploits.
            Can you imagine being a German-American POW when Germany was losing the war ? Not a good place to be…………………

          2. Tony and Vince, tiny anecdote. I had the honor of interviewing several Tuskegee Airman.
            One told me he was shot down and captured by the Germans who treated him with respect because he was an officer, better than many American soldiers who saw dolor, not rank.
            These were among the most amazing men we ever produced.

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